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Opening Statements

Opening Statement: Chairman Conaway: Budget Views & Estimates Letter for FY2017

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good morning everyone. As you all know, we have a Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research subcommittee hearing on “Opportunities and Challenges in Direct Marketing” coming up in a few minutes, so I will keep my comments brief.

The Committee’s budget views and estimates letter that we have before us this morning respectfully requests that the Budget Committee give careful consideration to the significant contributions toward deficit reduction made by the Committee on Agriculture and the substantial reforms these savings entailed.

The letter also highlights the troubled economic conditions facing farm country, including the estimated 55 percent drop in net farm income over the past two years. Uncertain economic conditions are exacerbated by regulatory burdens and trade and tax uncertainties that should, in our opinion, be key factors when determining from which congressional committees and mission areas any future budget savings should come.

From our perspective, we continue to believe that the Committee on Agriculture has done its duty for now with respect to deficit reduction and that the areas constituting the other 98 percent of the Federal budget ought to be looked to first for any additional savings being sought this Congress.